Message of the Day – A White Elephant

”White Elephant of Harvard”

That was Thursday’s Chicago Tribune’s headline for an article on the Motorola complex in Harvard.

Then, later yesterday, the Northwest Herald announced that the campus had been sold.

No buyer was named at first.

But, later, Miami-based Optma International was identified by reporter Kelly Mahoney as the purchaser.

The story quotes the Cleveland Plain Dealer about Optima:

“Optima International is the U.S. branch of a private, global company heavily invested in oil, gas, telecommunications and manufacturing in Eastern Europe.”

John Blanchard’s NASA Education tried to line up financing to buy the building. He envisioned making it a place homeless veterans could live, maybe enough to justify a Veterans Department medical clinic. But apparently he could not line up sufficient financing.

That use could have brought big income bucks from state government to the city’s coffers.

Now, I guess they will have to be satisfied with real estate taxes. Hard to imagine its being turned into a big shopping mall that would generate sales taxes.

Current owners American Assets paid Motorola $14 million for the property in 2005, the NW Herald reports.

State government kicked in $35 million, if memory serves me correctly. Daily Herald reporter Lenore Adkins writes the building originally cost $100 million to build in 1997.

The Northwest Herald reported on its web site Friday that the building sold for $16.7 million.

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